Compagnie de Saint Gobain S.A. Business Report FY ended Dec. 2015

Recent Years

Financial Overview

(in million EUR)
FY ended Dec. 31, 2015 *FY ended Dec. 31, 2014 Rate of change (%) Factors
Net Sales 39,623 38,349 3.3 1)
Operating Income 2,636 2,522 4.5 -
Sales by Sector
Innovative Materials sales 9,573 8,981 6.6 -
-Flat Glass sales 5,185 4,862 6.6 2)
-High-Performance Materials sales 4,388 4,119 6.5 3)

*Due to the sale of the Company’s Packaging business, the Company’s results for 2014 have been restated.

1) Net Sales
-In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015, the Company’s net sales increased by 3.3% over the previous year to EUR 39,623 million. Excluding positive currency effects of 3.0%, the Company had organic growth of 0.4% due to stable pricing, despite sales volumes which had not recovered as expected in France.

2) Flat Glass sales
-Sales in the Company’s Flat Glass business for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015 increased by 6.6% over the previous year to EUR 5,185 million. The automotive Flat Glass business recorded strong growth in Western Europe and in Asia and emerging countries, with the exception of Brazil. These gains were offset by a weakening market in Brazil, and fragile construction markets in Western Europe.

3) High-Performance Materials sales
-Sales for the Company’s High-Performance Materials business increased by 6.5% in the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015 to EUR 4,388 million. While there was a slight decline in the sales of ceramic proppants, the rest of the business unit experienced organic growth.


-The Company announced that all antitrust authorities have given their pre-closing clearance, regarding its acquisition of a controlling interest in Switzerland-based Sika AG. This follows final receipt of unconditional approval from the CADE, Brazil’s competition authority, for the acquisition of control of Sika. It is in line with the other unconditional approvals that the Company has already received for this acquisition, including those coming from Switzerland and the European Commission. (From a press release on December 7, 2015)

Recent Developments

-The Company will expand sales of its steering yokes to Japanese automakers and hopes to win sales with Japanese automakers by 2018. Highlights include the yoke’s excellent durability that maintains the handling of the steering system of a new car almost permanently. The Company is planning to sell the product initially for luxury models and gradually expand sales to other models. In a steering system, the rotation of the pinion gear connected to the shaft is transformed to the horizontal axis via the rack gear to transmit steering movement to the shaft. A steering yoke supports the rack from the rear to improve the gear’s engagement. A PTFE layer on the yoke’s surface improves sliding performance so that the yoke can withstand tens of thousands of force cycles. The Company’s proprietary technology allows it to apply PTFE films on the yoke that are five times thicker than its competitors' products. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on January 22, 2015)

-The Company will expand sales of its steering systems with tolerance rings as an anti-theft device for models exported to emerging countries and locally built vehicles. The Company anticipates growing demand for the anti-theft systems in China, Brazil, Russia and other emerging nations and intends to expand sales of anti-theft steering systems in those areas to increase its market share. Tolerance rings are corrugated metal rings installed between a steering shaft and a steering collar lock to deter the steering wheel’s operation when the car is locked. According to the Company, 90% of passenger cars in Japan and Europe use tolerance rings. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on January 16, 2015)

Joint Ventures

-The Company and Central Glass Co., Ltd. have agreed to establish a 50-50 joint venture (JV) for producing and selling automotive glass in Indonesia. The new JV, tentatively named PT Central Saint-Gobain Sekurit Indonesia, will be established in the eastern part of Jakarta in December 2014. The total investment amount is undisclosed. The JV will start operations of its new plant and provide automotive glass for 500,000 vehicles annually in early 2016 primarily in the Indonesian market. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on September 8, 2014)

R&D Expenditures

(in million EUR)
FY ended Dec. 31, 2015 *FY ended Dec. 31, 2014 *FY ended Dec. 31, 2013
Overall 434 395 423

*Due to the sale of the Company’s Packaging business, the Company’s results for 2014 and 2013 have been restated.

-In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015, approximately two-thirds of the Company’s research and development expenditure went towards its Innovative Materials sector.

R&D Structure

-The Company has 3,700 employees in research and development. In its Innovative Materials sector, the Company has 2,100 employees dedicated to research and development working on more than 500 research projects. Projects in the sector include new processes for thin coatings, more effective double and triple glazings, and plastic films for vehicles.

R&D Facilities

-The Group has eight primary research centers.

  • Cavaillon, France: Centre de Recherche et d’Études Européen (CREE)
  • Thourotte, France: Centre de Recherche et de Développement de Chantereine (CRDC)
  • Herzogenrath, Germany: Herzogenrath Research & Development Centre (HRDC)
  • Northboro, MA, U.S.: Northboro Research & Development Center (NRDC)
  • Aubervilliers, France: Saint-Gobain Recherche (SGR)
  • Shanghai, China: Saint-Gobain Research Shanghai (SGRS)
  • Chennai, India: Saint-Gobain Research India (SGRI)
  • Capivari, Brazil: Saint-Gobain Research Brazil

-In early 2016, the Company opened a new research center in Capivari, Brazil. The 3,000-square-foot building will work in cooperation with the local scientific community and various South American innovation agencies to develop products specifically for the region.


-In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015, the Company filed approximately 350 patents.

Product Development

-In the automotive market, the Group continuously innovates to develop new products such as lighter glass, more effective door seals, and better passenger compartment insulation. These products help to address the current challenges faced by major automotive companies such as reducing fuel consumption and promoting occupant safety and comfort.

Extremely thin laminated glass windshield
-In 2014, through a co-development with Renault, Saint-Gobain Sekurit perfected an extremely thin laminated glass windshield that is 3 mm thick, versus 4.5 mm normally. Despite its thickness, the new windshield preserves the mechanical and acoustic qualities of the glass. The new product which will also be used for side windows and rear-view mirrors, thereby reducing CO2 emissions.

New lead-free soldering technology

-The Company has developed a new lead-free soldering technology for automotive glazing and started its promotion to Japanese automakers. The Company will propose that the new technology may be introduced with less cost and time as it can use existing lead-soldering facilities to produce lead-free glass. In Europe from January 2016, the End-of-Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive will prohibit the usage of lead, designating it as a hazardous substance for heatable wires of automotive glazing that prevents water condensation. Since import of vehicles made of lead materials will also be forbidden, Japanese and other non-European automakers as well as European manufacturers are forced to consider a countermeasure. In the future, it is expected that the usage of lead will be prohibited worldwide. The Company intends to encourage automakers to prepare for the move in early stages. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on August 27, 2014)

Capital Expenditure

(in million EUR)
FY ended Dec. 31, 2015 *FY ended Dec. 31, 2014
Innovative Materials 529 418
-Flat Glass 311 235
-High-Performance Materials 218 183
Construction Products 528 521
Building Distribution 231 264
Other 58 20
Total 1,346 1,223

*Due to the sale of the Company’s Packaging business, the Company’s results for 2014 have been restated.

Investments Outside France

-The Company announced that it has inaugurated a new flat glass (float) production plant in Bhiwadi, Rajasthan, India. With a total investment of EUR 140 million, this line started production in March 2014. This float line covers a surface area of 27 acres and has an annual production capacity of 300,000 metric tons of flat glass. It is the Company's fourth float line in India and it produces glass mainly for the Indian construction and automotive markets. (From a press release on October 27, 2014)


-The Company plans to launch a EUR 800 million cost-cutting program from 2016 through 2018 as part of ongoing cost saving initiatives. The program will focus on operational excellence and purchasing.

-For the fiscal year ending December 31, 2016, the Company expects to invest approximately EUR 1,400 million in capital expenditures, with a specific focus on investments outside Western Europe.